1887 - Pyke, V. History of the Early Gold Discoveries in Otago - APPENDICES, p 118-151

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  1887 - Pyke, V. History of the Early Gold Discoveries in Otago - APPENDICES, p 118-151
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NOTE. --The reference to Appendix D, page 77, should read "Appendix E;" and that to Appendix E, page 92, should read "Appendix F."

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Under this heading it has seemed desirable to record some things and events, the introduction of which into the body of the work would have interrupted the historical sequence, but which are nevertheless worthy of record as illustrative of the period. Some additions have also been made owing to communications of an interesting character coming to hand too late for insertion otherwise. Notably there is the story of Gabriel Read's discovery of gold, told by himself, and other records of the early discoveries, supplied by many kind friends, which add a zest to the dry historical facts, and for the communication of which I take this opportunity of thanking them--one and all.

Dunedin, March 17th, 1887.



Mr. Thomas Pratt, who represents the Southern Maori District in the New Zealand Parliament, informs me that the word "ferro" in Mr. Palmer's statement (p. 2) should be written "wherro"--though pronounced "fherro"--the "wh" being always pronounced as "f'h" in the Maori tongue. Thus Kawhia in the North Island is pronounced "Kafhia," and so in all instances. The meaning of the word is "red," or is more generally used to indicate anything brightly coloured. "Simon"--the word used by Mr. Archibald--is probably a corruption of "timata," strongly accenting the "i." It means "heavy"--and in this connection, "heavy stones."

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Whilst compiling this Book I wrote to Gabriel Read asking him to favour me with his own account of his discovery at Tuapeka. In reply, Mr. Read kindly sent me a very lengthy epistle which the exigencies of space compel me to curtail; but I hope I have not omitted anything essential to the narrative:--

"In 1886 I read in the papers that grand diggings had been discovered on the Mataura, and I resolved to have a look at them whenever opportunity should favour. I had almost got indifferent on the matter, when one day, in passing along the quay at Hobart, I saw the Don Pedro II. taking in horses for Otago. I stepped over and engaged a passage at the owner's. Not many hours after I was under weigh for Port Chalmers.

"After putting in at Port William, we made an average and successful passage to Port Chalmers; the illfated Pride of the Yarra landed me at Dunedin in due course. I made inquiries as to the Southland Diggings, and was told 'there was gold everywhere, but not enough to pay.'..... Mr. Bremner, a gentleman whose acquaintance I had formed on the ship (afterwards in the Lands Department) came up. I told him I was going down South, he joined me, when we walked together about half-way to Caversham, when, the public conveyance coming up, we shook hands, &c, and parted. We reached the Inn at the Taieri Ferry that night, and as they told me that there was a fine lake and settled country before me, I quitted the conveyance, strapped on my wallet, and commenced my pedal peregrination......

At length I reached a part of the road where Mr. John Hardy was in a field mowing a small patch of chevalier barley. He hailed me, and ..... we fell into a long yarn, in the course of which he informed me the people of the Plain had done him the honour to elect him to the Provincial Assembly. This induced me to ask him if he could give me any of the history of the Mataura Diggings. His reply was to this effect:-- 'Are you interested in goldmining? Well, it is a singular thing, there appears to be gold all round, but nobody has been able to find anything to pay.' My next remark was: 'Well, you know that next to iron gold is said to be one of the most generally distributed of metals. Have you ever had any practised Victorian miners about?' He said he did not know anything about miners, but that a gentleman named Learmonth had been up or towards Tuapeka, and had come down in great excitement, promising to be down in a month with 10,000 fully equipped diggers; but all this happened a long time ago. I am inclined to think he must have been mad or hoaxing us, for we have never seen or heard anything of him since he disappeared full gallop down the road. I asked did he mention California, for if he did, I knew the gentleman to be a decent intelligent fellow....... I do not think he had any experience of diggings, as many young gentlemen in California, who could find no congenial

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employment, took to the first rough work that came to hand that promised to provide the means of returning creditably to the land from which they had imprudently severed themselves. Mr. L. had no doubt been diverted from his road by exaggerated reports of what Peters was doing...... I pegged away to the Clutha Ferry, and there met someone who from his conversation I deemed competent to inform me as to the diggings on the Mataura. I was amused by his answer:-- 'They are always finding Goldfields. They have one gold sovereign, and that's kept in a glass case at Dunedin, and it's my opinion that's all the gold they ever will have. If you've come on that lay I pity you, for the country from here to Invercargill is much the same as you see before you.' I went on the Clutha road about four miles, and returned to the Inn. Forty miles of dreary road which would probably have to be retraced, seemed too great a toil to needlessly undertake, and having seen the Clutha, it struck me I had viewed all that was worth toiling to see. I from thence retraced my steps towards Dunedin, and who should I meet but Mr. Hardy. He asked what I thought of the Mataura. I told him I had not been so far; but as far as I might judge from a cursory view of the country my ideas would coincide with the report I had heard, and I jocosely narrated the tale of the sovereign, &c 'Oh, we're not so bad as that, and there are riches yet to come from the wool; but I am afraid they may come too late for many. What we want is a good Goldfield, and we all try to believe it is somewhere about here; and I believe if you would only try, you are the man to get it. Come over to my place, and if you want any information about land, I am at your service without any charge for the information.'

.....About this time it became whispered on the Plain that there was a man who knew something about gold digging, and one or two of the settlers even went so far as to suggest that a subscription might be got up to despatch me on discovery. My answer was invariably-- 'No; you would not like to lose your money, and I prefer to enter on the work on my own resources.' I doubt whether the whole settlement, leaving Mr. Hardy out of the question, could have brought their faith to the extent of a couple of pounds. Now; I'll tell you who showed me the first and only gold I ever saw in Otago, until I took my first prospect in the bed of the Waitahuna, and, strange to say, I find no mention of his name, --John Fisher, a dark-haired German. He called on me at my quarters and showed me a nice sample; said he had been making a living at Mr. W. Miller's by digging; I do not remember for how long. His report was in fact encouraging, and I told him I should come along his way in a few days and give him a call. Mind, it was determined at this time I should go out after I had taken a trip to Dunedin with the account of the poll for the Superintendental election. This I did. The next morning I received a message desiring my early attendance on the Major, at his office. On my answering the summons he thanked me in the most cordial manner, asked me to supplement my services by distributing a sheaf of newspapers among those on the way back to Tokomairiro who had been most prominent in his support, and told me he should always feel an interest in my welfare, and be happy if he could at any time render me any service. On this I told him I

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was most entirely disinterested, as I had come down with the view of ascertaining if I could take out a license to prospect for gold, as I did not care to render myself amenable to the penalties for trespass, and laughingly remarked-- 'If your laws are in any way copied from those of Victoria, there they have a comprehensive statute, known as the Vagrant Act, designed to meet every deficiency of legislation:--the committers of all uncatalogued offences to be dealt with as the authorities may desire.' The Major paused for a time, thinking:-- 'As for the licenses, we've never arrived at the necessity of determining on that question; the most embarrassing question that faces us at present is the Lindis question. Out of it may spring no end of trouble. Demands promise to be pressing, and the public chest is by no means plethoric. I trust if we are to have any more tidings of Goldfields they may be of so unequivocal a character as to enable us to see our way clearly to a prosperous result. However, if you go up into the country take no dogs with you to disturb the sheep; study to avoid all cause of offence to the runholders, and if you are interfered with, communicate with the Executive, and I may venture to promise they will bear you harmless of penalties.' I told him I was not very sanguine, even although Mr. Hardy seemed to harbour a kind of presentiment that I was to be the author of untold wealth to Otago. 'But if I trouble you with any reports of gold discoveries it will be only under such circumstances as will enable you to clearly see your way!.....

I do not pretend to give the ipsissima verba of this dialogue, but am assured the substance is entirely correct. It would be difficult to recall the exact words after an interval of time of more than a quarter of a century. I attempt it merely with the view of explaining an action of the Major's which at the time rather took me by surprise, and may perchance puzzle you--viz., the prompt publication of my letter of the 4th June, 1861. I thought it probable he would have awaited the return of Mr. Hardy, and then despatched the most competent official at his command to investigate as to the truth of the disclosures that had startled the quiet slumbers of Dunedin, and waited till the 4th July, when I thought it advisable to wake them up a bit. The state of public feeling at this time may be best judged by the contemporary Press, which I had little opportunity of consulting at the time. It appears the Otago Witness thought the news too good to be true. So far as I could learn, someone said, 'The man is mad,' and the nine days' wonder passed off with the derisive comment-- 'It's surely Gabriel the Angel.' It seems hard to account for the obstinate incredulity which permitted me to work with two companions from somewhere about the 9th June till the 4th July without any further intrusion on our solitude than two or three of the neighbouring runholders. John Hardy wrote to me to say it would he highly advisable to send him down about twenty pounds of gold to induce them to believe! On the 4th July, after brushing up as well as I might, I signified my intention to take a stroll as far as Peter Robertson's. Brooks, one of my party, volunteered to go with me, and when we left the valley, the other of my party, young Edward Hardy, remained the sole inhabitant. Arrived at Mr. P. R.'s, I requested his permission to use the table, and in less than a quarter of an hour the

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letter of that date was written and entrusted to his hands to be despatched the first opportunity...... I don't believe the whole Plain had faith enough to have staked their faith to the extent of half-a-crown on my venture, or that of any man to the Tuapeka, in search of a Goldfield. John Hardy alone was the man who, as we examined the chart and discussed the prospects of the Lindis, said time after time: 'Read, I have a great idea that if you would only try you might do us some good turn. I felt that the moment I saw you coming back after I had bidden you good-bye for the first and last time.' On my return from Dunedin, notwithstanding my interview with the Major, I had almost determined in my own mind to go back again. I signified my intention to Mr. H. 'Oh, you do disappoint me,' said he. 'What has induced you to change your mind?' R.: 'You see we are getting to the dead of winter. It must be a cold country, as I know the grade from the coast inland is considerable throughout New Zealand.' H.: 'Now Read I'd go myself with you rather than that you should halt on it.' R.: 'No, good men are scarce, and you are too decent a fellow for me to permit you to kill yourself. I'll try for a month if you'll only tell me where you'd like me to begin.' H.: 'The North branch of the Tokomairiro River.' R.: 'I do not think it probable that anything of importance could be found there, but you'll go with me to-morrow; I might perhaps show some of the metal.' H.: 'That's a good fellow. I've no time, but one of the boys shall go with you.' R.: 'Jibbing already. I'll however take a spade, pick, and pan.' We went up the North Tokomairiro and--I take the words of Mr. Gillies-- 'hen-scratched and brought home enough to swear by,' at which Mr. H. was highly elated. 'Now,' I said, 'I shall bid you good bye to-morrow. I must make a tent and I shall not see you again till I come back, and if I can prevail on him I'll take the German with me.' Calico and necessaries purchased at Mansford's store, myself stitching away about two days at Murdoch's, my tent is complete, and I ready to start. I bid Murdoch, his wife, and bairns good bye about 2.30 p.m., and take my way on the road with a large loaf of bread, 4 or 5 lbs. of bacon, 5 lbs. of oatmeal, and a supply of tea and sugar to last a fortnight; pick, spade, tin dish and two blankets. My swag was not a very heavy one, but was sufficiently irksome to me...... On my way I called on John Fisher, told him I'd come according to my promise to give him a call, and would he like to go with me as far as the Tuapeka. His reply was not very encouraging-- 'My good friend, I make my living here, and if I lose two weeks it will take me a long time to make it up; don't you go. If you want to dig, dig here, they cannot get a living up where you would go; do not try it.'..... I started at early dawn, making a cut across the hill to get into the Tuapeka road higher up than where I had diverged from it. I observed a long tom in the gully. The men had not got out to work, and I never saw or heard of any of them till they came up with Mr. Miller to Tuapeka. I have reasons to believe they had just set in, and from what I could afterwards learn, were not likely long to continue. It was a peddling little gully, --might have lasted Fisher for six weeks and could not have served the whole party for more than a fortnight. If anyone was likely to stick at it it

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was John Fisher, and while he could pick up a subsistence he was not likely to go further afield. All I knew of the other parties was gathered from John Cargill, who accompanied Captain Baldwin and I to Waitahuna. He told me he was one of the party. I never had a word to say to the Jenkins' in my life; I've seen them at a distance, that's all. Moving along the flank of Mount Stewart I freshened up in the keen frosty air, made a hasty breakfast al fresco, and stepped out as well as I could for Waitahuna. I examined up and down its bed for about four hours, and just about dark when I thought it advisable to think about making my camp for the night, intending to have a look the whole next day, a bullock dray came along. The man asked me what I was doing. I told him frankly-- 'Trying for gold.' 'Well, do you find any?' 'Yes, wherever I look.' 'Well, do let me see how you find gold.' 'Well, you shall see.' 'And you call that gold. What may be the value of what you've got there?' 'Not very much; but put a lot of it together, and if you were its possessor you'd be a rich man.' 'Where are you resting, man?' 'Why I'm just about to begin to build my house, as I want to stay to-morrow, and perhaps the next day.' 'Come on with me; we'll get to Peter Robertson.' I never knew the name of that bullock-driver. He took me up to Peter Robertson's, went out with his bullocks; and as the party was numerous, the men got so mixed up the only two I could recognise again were Mr. Musgrave and Peter Robertson. They were very kind; but as the floor was covered very thick by improvised shake-downs, I got very little sleep that night; and, as I tell you, took it out on the side of the hill. After leaving Peter's within a hundred yards off, my snooze was, though an involuntary, a sound and refreshing one, and when I awoke I felt refreshed, and stepped out briskly for the Tuapeka. Arrived there, I pitched my tent, cooked a hearty meal, prepared my bread, and found I had about two hours to spare. Tried the bank of the river from where the Evans Flat branch joins the Gabriel's branch: tried loose prospects in the bed; and started with spade, dish, and pick up Evans' Flat, intending to travel up the creek until near sunset, as long as I found the country open before me. The river was on my left, and I did not leave the path. Gold in the alluvial seemed very uniformly distributed. At the acute bend where Davy and Bowler's road crossed observed the rich pyrites in the bank: took a prospect or two. 'Well, this may be examined if nothing better turns up. Well, I should like to look at that wood about a mile up; is it pine or beech'? I can get near enough to ascertain. Perhaps the country may shape better about there. What a grand thing if I could see the probability of getting a good hut and diggings together! Step out, there's nothing to prevent you from getting back to your tent after sunset, a clear night like this. I suppose this is Peter's ground." I liked the other branch of the river best from the first reconnoitre, and had I been called upon to select one valley for a final and conclusive trial, it is the place I should have gone to. I was inclined to dispose of Peter's branch that afternoon, try Gabriel's and the surrounding country for a week, maybe, and if unsuccessful return and examine further up Peter's. --Evans' branch; take a day or two up and down the Waitahuna, and when beaten for provisions run back to Toko-

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mairiro; have a few days' move trial round the Waitahuna, and then if I could find nothing I could assure as a Goldfield, leave my tent and tools to whoever might be the first comer; off to Dunedin, and then off home. Spanking away at my best for the wood above mentioned, I first saw the friendly face of a shepherd's dog, and then the shepherd himself. I doubt whether I greeted Mr. Munroe as mate. I almost doubt whether I did so to any man. I think his memory fails him there--let that be. We civilly passed the courtesies of the day. He asked me what I was doing there. I told him I had come up to see if there were any payable diggings, and asked him where about Peter had been trying, he told me to the best of his ability, adding: 'He tried well but could not make it do. I'm afraid you will be disappointed the same as he.' 'Mayhap,' I said, 'but there's another branch of the river over there,' pointing up the Munroe gully towards Gabriel's. 'No, I don't think he did, but where are you going now?' 'I'm going on to that wood, if I find it not too rough to walk back in the dark, and then to my house.' 'Your house! Where's your house?' 'At the junction of the rivers, by the crossing of the road.' 'Why, house man, you must mean a tent.' 'Yes, you're quite right, and I must think of getting back to it.' 'I may go and look at the wood another day.' 'Surely you don't think of walking back to your tent to-night.' 'Well, I do, its likely to be a clear night, and I saw no difficulty by the way that should prevent me.' 'Nonsense, man, come along to my place, and I'll make you more comfortable than you can be in a tent.' 'Well, if you'll excuse me, and accept my many thanks I would like to get to my tent, as I wish to shift up the other branch of the river. Now you've shown me where Peter's been I'd like to examine some place where he has not been.' At this he seemed to get indignant, and asked me if I thought I'd been invited if I were not welcome, and half to gratify the good man's fervid hospitality, I replied, 'Well, I will accept of your kind offer.' I bethought me that it would be about as near to my tent down the one branch of the river as the other, as I could devote myself to a close examination of the Gabriel's branch, and I might perchance save myself the trouble of shifting my tent up if disappointed in my expectation of finding payable gold there. And so I became installed Mr. Munroe's favoured guest for the night. We were up betimes in the morning, breakfast dispatched, we followed the ridge and struck on the Gabriel's branch at the top of the hill where the beech forest was thick, the stream rocky and insignificant, and banks lined with the gnarled roots of the forest, and here I thanked him for his hospitality and parted. He said he had to collect sheep or had some pressing engagement or other. I followed the creek down till I got on the flat, and saw no favourable opportunity of trying a prospect for some time, the drift was deep and cumbered with boulders and little or no loose gold lower down. Getting opposite the Blue Spur, the prospects began to brighten, just when I had deemed it meet to make a flit for my tent, as darkness was fast coming on the scene. At a place where a kind of road crossed on a shallow bar, I shovelled away about 2 1/2 feet of gravel, arrived at a beautiful soft slate and saw the gold shining like the stars in Orion on a dark frosty night. It was dark ere I had finished properly washing this prospect. I had got

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deeply interested in my work and bethought me what if I should be enabled after all to startle the Major with the certain intelligence that I had promised him should attend any communication he might receive from me. I did not think so much of my fortune as what a lark it will be; how old John Hardy will stare and believe in the future in presentment. I should in fact have started for my tent two hours before I washed this last grand prospect, but deferred and deferred until as I tell you darkness had overtaken me. My wont was to take with me a handful of oatmeal which I mixed in my pannikin with water, staved off the cravings of hunger till the evening, when I took a more appetising meal. I had conceived the idea from reading how the Highland drovers were in the habit of travelling from Sterling to Smithfield, with no better provender, and when one has to travel with his larder, implements, and habitation on his back, he is not apt to be fastidious, but will prefer what is portable to what is palatable. My prospect obtained and darkness upon me, my first idea was to leave my pan and gold where I had last operated; but impatience to ascertain the results, when I should attain to my wax candle induced me to the rather arduous undertaking of carrying a lot of loose gold in a shallow open pan, in a very deceptive light; how I accomplished the undertaking remains a wonder to the present day, but I did, although I fell two or three times among the loose tussocks and into holes. The ground was soft and I managed to preserve the pan horizontal, and when I got to my tent and struck a light I judged I had nearly two ounces of gold. The next morning I struck camp and commenced to wend my way to the Eldorado. I took most of the day to accomplish this journey, as I prospected at intervals, and finally pitched my tent without the smallest attempt at concealment, below the saddle that led up to Munroe's hospitable sheeling. I expected he would have seen my tent at any hour any day. I did not devote much of my time to washing the ground which I had found so rich. I had arrived at the flat from the upper wood in the first place, in fact travelled the river down from its incipient stage to where I camped; and from thence to the junction at Evans's. At Lawrence I had observed the nobler branch, which I concluded must have a longer career than its confluent on which I was camped, so I struck over the saddle, tried down Weatherstone's, taking up the creek until I got well up into the mountain. Found that as the creek assumed a severe grade, I could find no loose gold in the surface drift. I think the rocks were granite, if not they must have been basalt of a columnar structure standing vertical at various stages, and my deduction was here we must limit conjecture, let's have a look at the hills; so I tried the hills a good long way up to see if I could find indications in the little depressions, but could get only a great quantity of black cubes. I remember one little startling event in the valleys. I came to a very steep one with very tall ferns, and at one place so steep as to necessitate a system of progression highly detrimental to one's trousers seat. Well, here goes handsomely, spade acting as a kedge to restrain impetuosity. Facilis decensus, and I came almost on top of a pig which started up with a snort and seemed inclined to resent my abrupt intrusion on his domicile; but, on second thoughts, determined to decline

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the honor of my acquaintance, so vacated, and left me master of the position. I thought to myself, thank goodness you're not the big white boar I saw at a satisfactory distance on a spur above Waitahuna flats. I tried about in all directions I thought advisable, did everything in fact that I thought might enable me to draw safe deductions, and at last finding I was getting to an end of my provisions, went down the gully as far as the Lawrence Junction and found a few prospects of shotty gold in the banks of the creek, from which I formed the conclusion, these hills must be more or less auriferous. I don't suppose this took me more than an hour. I then resolved to take the day for a good and sensational gathering, put a small oilskin, which I had to lay under me to intercept the damp in the creek, to act as a sluice, found it would not do but might answer to some extent as a puddling. At nightfall it was my intention, if the night promised clear, to make a start for Mr. Peter Robertson's, who, had circumstances not induced me to alter my intentions, would have had the first sure prize. I never touched the place where I had unearthed my first grand prospect. I reserved that for Mr. Hardy's delectation. I washed a prospect for him with about the same results as my first essay, and he afterwards told me how much it had turned out. On being subjected to the test of the scales, as far as I remember, the approximation was nearer two ounces than one. Now I'll go on, and shall soon take you from the Tuapeka to Tokomairiro. Thinking that I must have a very good lob, I resolved to clean up, dry, &c, and pack off at nightfall. I had just one crust left to serve me on the road, and I was not quite sure but that I might miss Mr. P. Robertson. Mind I had to work a traverse, and I had observed no track leading my way from his habitation on the hill. I filled my improvised puddling tub, thinking that if my gold did not come up pretty well to the full of my match I'd have another draft when James Munroe came down to me. I could have easily concealed my gold had I desired to do so; but I had cogitated the question and determined on the steps I subsequently took. My first impulse was to mystify him, for I had heard his dog bark. Looked up the Blue Spur and saw him intent on some cattle; his back was turned towards me, and I shoved the gold under my blankets. I doubt whether I addressed him as mate. I had met two shepherds in Otago--Mr. Robertson, in whom I thought I could recognise a man who had seen better days and thought might yet see better still, and Munroe had a good Highland name, and as he took me with the empressement of Highland hospitality up the valley on our first meeting, I thought to myself goodness knows but that I may be going to sup with the first cousin to the Chieftain of the Clan. As far as I can remember our conversation would be something to this purport (let us for convenience put the dialogue R. and M.). I may say at this time my heart warmed at the remembrance of his generous hospitality. R.: 'Good evening to you Mr. Munroe, why I've been expecting to have a call from you any evening since the morning I left you in the wood above; surely, although you might not see me, you must have seen my tent.' M.: 'Well, I have not seen your tent, but I knew you must be somewhere about, for my cattle looked about as if there was something uncanny down here, and I might have given you a look down,

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but I have been very busy. I'm afraid you've had but ill luck.' R.: 'Quite the contrary; I believe I may say I've found it.' M.: 'You're only joking; I'm afraid that's too good news to be true.' R.: 'Well, come, mate, I'll make you a digger.' M.: 'I'm afraid it's a poor trade; for my part I'd sooner be a shepherd.' (If I called him mate you must remember he had made allusion to the uncanny, and it was in playful badinage on both sides.) R.: 'Well, I believe you are quite right there, but you can be none the worse for having a second trade to fall back on, so fall to.' M.: 'I'll have a try, but I have not much time. It's a busy week for me, and my master's business has the first call.' R.: 'Well, you are quite right, but just watch me. I'll take this dirt,' and I washed out a pan. M.: 'My word, there's a lot, and only I could not believe it. I thought you was joking.' R.: 'Joking, man! If I were the owner of this station and able to take up forty acres on this flat I would be the richest man in New Zealand.' M.: 'If you'd told me that a quarter of an hour ago, I would not have believed you; only to think it's been there all this time without our having known anything of it. Man, I should have thought you'd been mad.' R.: 'Well, fall to and wash out this dirt, as you saw me do, and then we'll have another crack.' I believe there were but two pans or so, and this is all the work Munroe and I ever did together. I cleaned up the joint washing, dried it, and blew it. I had made my blankets in a roll, intending to start; for I remember we sat side by side, and I had put my coat over my other gold, which I took out and shook all together. R.: 'Munroe, you'll not feel offended if I offer you a little token as a tribute of my respect for your good wife.' M.: 'I dare say she would like it; but I'm afraid I'd be robbing you.' R.: 'Not a bit. I remember you felt hurt when I refused your hospitality, so let me have the pleasure of offering her something to remember that event by.' (With that, I set apart with my knife, as near as I could judge, about three ounces.) M.: 'I can hardly believe but what I'm dreaming; it's just like a romance.' R.: 'Can you tell me, is there a track from here to Peter Robertson's?' M.: 'Why, you're not going to start at this time; you'll be lost. Come up to my place; you'll be fresher in the morning and better able to see your way.' I bethought me: Well, if I go up to his place it will enable me to see about for another day; and had not the bread basket been bare I would have liked to remain another week, although I found the solitude very irksome. I went up with Munroe; spent the night at his place. On my arrival he had a long confab with his wife, who fully understood its purport, for she appeared more amazed than he had been. Out and breakfasted at dawn. I suggested he should have another try, more in joke than earnest. Wished him goodbye. Told him he knew where the tools and the gold was to be found. The day I left Munroe at its dawning, I devoted to looking about me. At night I returned to my tent, took up my blankets, and started for Peter Robertson's. There was a bright moon shining, which gradually became clouded as I ascended the spur from Lawrence to his place. I kept the spur as well as I could; most probable I passed within a few hundred yards of his house. I listened in vain for the bark of a dog, and sought for the friendly glare of a light, and at last felt a

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track under my feet, which I may have followed for a mile, when, finding it persistently pursued a course at right angles to what I deemed the proper one, I shook down my blankets amid the friendly shelter of some tussocks. It came on to drizzle; my blankets got very warm, and I fell into a sound sleep. I did not wake until maybe 8 o'clock the next morning. I saw a shepherd's hut a few hundred yards from me, approached, and was hospitably entertained to breakfast, when I went on my way. Tried with my pannikin a few prospects in Waitahuna. I crossed it at a place where the river was divided by an island. Passed Mount Stewart at a saddle, from which a steep incline led me to Galbraith's, and from thence down the road to Tokomairiro, at which place I arrived at about 8 p.m."



I was not a little astonished, upon my first visit to Waipori in 1862, when a bleak, swampy tract, utterly destitute of vegetation, other than a few sparsely-scattered tussocks, was shown to me as "The Bush Reserve." The explanation was that immediately beneath the soil there lay buried a small forest of timber upon which the inhabitants of the township relied for fuel. Some of this timber was of fairly-large dimensions, and all of it was in a good state of preservation--hard and firm, with the bark on just as it fell, having been preserved from decay by the antiseptic properties of the soil and water. If I remember rightly, it was chiefly birch, or, to speak more correctly, beech, interspersed with manuka.



I am indebted to Mr. William Gascoigne for an account of the abortive visit of the "Victorian miner," referred to in the text, to Hartley's Beach. His name was Watson, and he was one of a party of four working at the Lindis, the others being M'Masters, Davies, and Docherty, previously mentioned in connection with the Lindis rush (p.18). The incident is thus related by Mr. Gascoigne:--

"Hartley had been up to M'Leod and Gibson's store at Lindis to purchase goods. He stayed one night, and on leaving in the morning he forgot his pocketbook. There seemed to be a great mystery about

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him. In looking through the pocketbook, there were dates in it from the time they started to prospect the river, and the different places they touched at. There was in it their return to Dunedin, the sale of 40 ounces of gold, the purchase of two horses, several pounds of quicksilver, and stores, and the balance divided between Reilly and Horatio Hartley. Watson being an old digger, Docherty and the others thought it best to send him on Hartley's tracks, a day or two behind him, with a week's provisions. He followed right down on to the beach where they were working, arriving at night, just as they were leaving off work. They seemed to be taken by surprise, and stood up and looked at him; and he kept his eye on them. He walked right past the tin dish with the gold for the day's working in it, without noticing it in any way. They invited him up to their tent, where he stayed all night. Reilly pretended to be very bad with rheumatism, and talked Watson over and made him understand that in a month's time they were going to California, as there was no gold where they were. Watson returned to his mates at the Lindis with the story that he had found the men, and found them 'decent fellows,' but they were not getting any gold."

Mr. Gascoigne adds that his information was obtained partly from Hartley himself, and in part from Docherty and his mates. I may say that Hartley told me of the circumstance, and of his own and Reilly's consternation when Watson appeared and walked straight up to their tin dish, which contained about 20 ounces of gold. Their pleased surprise when he passed it without remarking its contents may be imagined.

In another letter Mr. Gascoigne informs me that Davies--mentioned above--was one of the prospectors who opened Waipori. He was an old Californian miner, and as a quaint illustration of the manners and customs of the old miners, it may be mentioned that when in Victoria he once played a game of quoits for £1,000. A somewhat similar feat is recorded of William Adams, who for many years past resided, and lately died, in the Dunstan Gorge. He was better known as "Champagne Bill," because when at Ballarat, in one of his freaks, he "shouted" 100 bottles of champagne at £2 per bottle. These are samples of the extravagances of the early miners upon whom Fortune sometimes showered her gifts all too copiously.



I find the following brief record of these circumstances in my "Second Annual Report of the Goldfields of Otago, 1863":--

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"The expectant crowds who, in the spring of 1862, flocked to the Dunstan Goldfield in the hope of obtaining rich claims on the beaches of the Clutha River, were not all equally fortunate; and many returned to Dunedin in even greater haste than they had rashly quitted it. Much disappointment was caused by the peculiar character of the workings; even the experienced miners of Australia and Tuapeka were unaccustomed to regard the bed of a rapid and turbulent river as the repository of gold. Those who remained however, quickly overcame the novelty of the position, and their labours were amply rewarded by the auriferous treasure which they extracted from the sands of the modern Pactolus. The banks of the river on either side became occupied by a numerous population, whose tents gradually extended from above the confluence of the Kawarau to below the gorges of the Beaumont Burn--a distance of nearly seventy miles. Others tested the Manuherikia; and perhaps the most valuable and productive claims in the district were those at and near the junction of this stream with the Clutha."

Two claims--the "Frenchman's" (owned by M. Feraud, Michael Kett, and others) and the "Harp of Erin"--are famous memories of the district. For many years these claims, situated on the west bank of the Clutha, nearly opposite the mouth of the Manuherikia, continued to yield surprising quantities of gold to their fortunate possessors.


JACKSON'S BAY. {p.92.)

Several explorations in search for new Goldfields were made at an early period, in the direction of Jackson's Bay, by different parties. These principally started from Lake Wakatipu. The long valleys of the Rees and Dart Rivers, stretching away into the recesses of the dividing range, tempted many bold adventurers, and the inaccessibility of the lofty mountains in which the farther ravines terminated, only whetted the desire to ascertain what lay beyond. The most remarkable of these explorations of which any record has been preserved was conducted by Alphonse Barrington, and his companions--James Farrell and Antoine Simonin. (Both the latter are spoken of as Frenchmen, whence it is probable there is a mistake in the orthography of Farrell's name.) They started from Queenstown on March 1st, 1864, and it would appear that they found and crossed a saddle somewhere near the head of the Lake; but, unfortunately, on the return journey they lost their chart, and owing, possibly, to their want of local information, it

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is impossible to trace their course from the report subsequently furnished by Harrington. He mentions two smaller lakes, one of which he named Lake Poverty, and the other Lake Plenty; and also a creek, to which he gave the name of Wild Dog, but I do not know that any such appear on the map. The stream which they struck on the West Coast, Harrington supposed to be an easterly branch of the Awarua River. Nothing was heard of the party until June--fifteen weeks after their start, --and they were believed to be lost. But on the 14th of that month, a constable reported from the Head of the Lake that they had returned there, or rather that they had been "discovered somewhere in that neighbourhood" in a most deplorable condition, having been snowed up a fortnight, and suffered greatly from want of food. When they went forth on their hazardous expedition they took with them a good supply of guns and ammunition, hoping to be able to supply themselves with food; but in this they were disappointed, scarcely finding anything to supply their wants, and they were at last reduced to the verge of starvation. When found the first thing they asked for was tobacco, but smoking made them sick, as also did food when first given to them. According to Barrington's account, they had penetrated to Jackson's Bay, both in Canterbury and Otago. In a brief account which appeared in the Otago Witness of July 25th, it is stated that "everywhere they seem to have found gold, and in several places rich deposits." They described "the whole of the country between Wakatipu and the Coast as being auriferous;" and alleged that they had also discovered traces of gold and other minerals. The route pursued is stated to have been in a direct north-east line from the head of Lake Wakatipu.

Barrington shortly afterwards published a fuller account of the expedition in the Lake Wakatip Mail, in which he confirms the glowing reports previously circulated. He described auriferous quartz reefs which he said his party had discovered, and told of "made hills" and terraces of promising appearance. "It is the finest-looking golden country," he wrote, "that I have seen in New Zealand."

Read by the light of past and recent experience, it is to be feared that this also must be regarded as "a traveller's tale."

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Whilst these pages were passing through the columns of the Witness, a letter from an old Tuapeka resident, now located at the West Coast, appeared in that newspaper, from which I quote the following extract:--

"For originating and constructing the first water race brought on to the Blue Spur from the head of Gabriel's, the credit is due to Mr. James Meehan, whose previous long experience in similar works in California well qualified him for the task. Meehan applied in November, 1861, at the Commissioner's camp, Tuapeka, for a right to construct and use for ground-sluicing purposes a race which was to terminate on the top of the then little known but now far-famed Spur. The Commissioner was astounded at the proposal, which, in his innocent inexperience of goldmining, he characterised as that of a madman, and the matter lay in abeyance until February, 1862, when the application was granted and the work immediately started, James White, James Bryan, and Meehan joining as mates in the meanwhile. The race was completed early in June, and the water turned down over the Spur amid general rejoicing. Curtis and Cullen followed soon after with their race. They were better known afterwards as the Nelson Company, from the fact of their having been previously digging at Collingwood. Meehan had scarcely finished the race from the head of Gabriel's when he started a survey of an extension from Waipori, and a number of men were employed in this work when the news of Hartley and Reilly's rich discovery at the Dunstan in August of the same year unhinged, and caused a temporary stoppage of employment at Tuapeka, master and man shouldering their swags, and betaking themselves as fast as their horses or legs would carry in search of the new El Dorado."

I may say here that the first mention made of sluicing at Munroe's occurs in the Otago Daily Times of June 10th, 1862, and that it refers to the work of "Californian Jim." Strictly speaking, he did not bring a race on to the Blue Spur. He wrought a branch gully leading into Munroe's, and I am informed that he took somewhere about 120 ounces out of his claim. The Meehan mentioned in the letter quoted above was a partner of White, whose party are referred to (page 99) as being the first to commence sluicing on the Gabriel's side of the Spur.

Mr. John Drummond--then Mining Surveyor of the Tuapeka District--has also written to the Otago Witness substantiating the claim of "California Jim" to be regarded as the pioneer race-owner and originator of the Blue Spur water-race. In the course of this letter Mr. Drummond says:-- "Immediately after the completion of

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the Gabriel's Gully race, 'California Jim' had a conversation with me as to the practicability of bringing in the Waipori. Jim went out on a tour of inspection, and on his return made an application to Major Croker, the Warden, for my services, to take the levels between the point where he proposed lifting the water and that of the Blue Spur; as he had doubts of being able to bring in the race at an elevation sufficiently high to command the top of the Spur.... The necessary authority was granted, and Jim and I proceeded with the work, and as a result I found that, after allowing for the contour of the Spurs along which the proposed race would come (I think it was 30 or 35 miles we allowed for the length of the race), and allowing 10 or 12 feet to the mile, the result would be that ample fall would be obtained with a surplus of from 60 to 70 feet above that of the highest elevation of the Spur workings." This should definitely settle the point in dispute.

In connection with this subject the following may be of interest to many. The original Prospectus of the "eatherstone Water Company"--the first mining company registered in Otago, and probably in New Zealand, under the provisions of "The Joint Stock Companies Act, 1860"--has been forwarded to me by Mr. Gascoigne for the purposes of this work. The capital was fixed at £5,000, in 1000 shares of £5 each; and on the provisional directory are the names of the late John Hughes, M.P.C., John Mouat (now solicitor at Dunedin), and J. C. Brown, M.H.R., with others of lesser note. Messrs. Gillies and Street were the brokers, with the old address of the firm-- "corner of Princes and Dowling streets, Dunedin." From this document, which was issued on 14th August, 1866, I extract the following information:--

"The Weatherstone Water Company was started in 1862 as a private company, and has been most successfully worked ever since-- the sum of £11,000 having during that time been realised for water...... The present race drains an area of 20,000 acres, and is constructed for four miles along the highest ranges around Weatherstones crossing the top of the saddle range, opposite the Blue Spur, Gabriel's, to which a branch race could be cut at any time, if desirable, at a small cost. The principal reservoir is a natural basin, embracing an area of 15 1/2 acres--the only outlet for which is a narrow gorge, 60 feet wide; across this neck an embankment has been thrown. The additional capital of the new Company is required for the purpose mainly of enlarging and strengthening the embankment, so as to store a quantity of water amounting to over three millions of gallons. On

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completion of the contemplated, works it is estimated that 18 sluice-heads of water will be at the disposal of the Company," &c

It is from this reservoir and race that the town of Lawrence now derives its water supply. There was sore need for "enlarging and strengthening the embankment," for in December, 1864, a sudden accession of water caused an overflow and a partial breakage of the dam bank, which nearly swept away the township of Weatherstones.

The mention of "sluice-heads" in this prospectus suggests the desirability of explaining the origin of the system of water measurement first prescribed by the Otago Goldfields Regulations of June 27th, 1862, and which still constitutes the basis for gauging and regulating the flow of water on all the Goldfields of New Zealand. Up to that date there was no provision whatever for gauging the quantity of water granted to miners, and consequently every man took as much as he pleased, depending on the principle (for it had not been legally formulated) of priority of right. This state of affairs caused much trouble and confusion. When I was engaged in drafting the Regulations referred to above, I found that none of the manifold Mining Board Bye-laws of Victoria were capable of being adapted to the circumstances of New Zealand. I had therefore to look farther afield. The Indian water-gauge for irrigation purposes was at that time much, lauded by experts, but I was not an expert, and the Indian gauge appeared to me as unsuitable to our Goldfields as the Victorian. At this juncture Mr. Paterson, then Provincial Engineer, advised me to study the Italian system, with the result that I finally adopted a modification of the Lombardo-Milanese gauge. But Lombardy is a flat country, and New Zealand is mountainous; and whilst in Lombardy every "head" of water can be taken for use on the level, and therefore with exactitude of measurement, in New Zealand the character of the country renders this impossible. The accession of every head of water consequently increases the actual quantity per head taken. But it seemed to me that this was a fault rather in the right direction than otherwise, and therefore whilst making provision for a certain degree of level flow I decided on 20 inches by 2 inches as the absolute gauge of a "head" of water. In practice this amounted to the holder of a grant for five heads getting a quantity equal to six heads. In the Regulations recently issued greater accuracy of measurement is secured, but, for all practical purposes, the Lombardo-Milanese gauge originally adopted is that in operation as the law of the Colony.

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THE BLUE SPUR. (p.100.)

It is matter for regret that there is no reliable data available from which to compile an estimate of the total quantity of gold extracted from this famous golden hill. I have, however, been furnished with information of the yield obtained during the last Ten years by Nine Companies now occupying the ground. The gross aggregate value of the gold produced in that period is stated at £570,000, as shown by the Companies' books. As the ground has been continuously wrought for 24 years, and the upper strata were much more easily sluiced than the "cement" in which operations are now being carried on, the yield for the entire period may safely be estimated at £1,000,000 sterling, and its riches are still far from being exhausted. The original surface area of these claims was 54 1/2 acres, which has been reduced by the process of working to 45 acres, as stated in the text (page 112). This diminution of area will be understood when it is explained that the rock formation enclosing the auriferous deposits is shaped like a basin--the sides gradually trending inwards.

Much gold was lost during the early stages of the development of the Blue Spur, owing to the imperfect appliances then in use. The wash-dirt, roughly broken up with picks, and turned over with shovels, was sluiced away in stone-channels, and in such quantity, that the site of the original "township" at the Blue Spur is now covered 50 feet deep with the waste debris from the mines; and Gabriel's Gully has been filled up beyond recognition for several miles. A Company formed to work these "tailings," as they are technically termed, has been in operation some time, with payable results.

The average number of men employed during the Ten Years period referred to above has been 64. The net dividends of the Nine Companies amounted to £187,000, which seems disproportionate to the gross result; but this is explained by the expenditure for labour-- many of the claims working three "shifts" a day--by charges for machinery (such as machines for crushing the cement), and to a very large extent by the frequent and expensive lawsuits which have occurred, owing to the difficulty of exactly determining boundaries where the "faces" are from 100 to 200 feet in height: to all which must be added the loss resulting from the various and unmethodical

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modes of working practised. It is now proposed to amalgamate the whole of the claims in one Company, so as to work the ground more systematically and economically, and to avoid the costly litigation in which the shareholders have for a long time too luxuriously indulged.

I may explain that the upper portion of the Blue Spur was composed of the newer tertiary, and the underlying soil of the old tertiary formation. Beneath the latter is a bed of "cement," so termed, the depth and extent of which has not yet been determined. Gold was found in each and all of these. The deposit spoken of as "cement" has been traced in a direct and continuous line from the Blue Spur for nearly 20 miles in a southerly direction, through Wether-stones, Waitahuna, and the Woolshed; sometimes buried deep beneath the surface, and at others appearing above it, and it carries gold throughout. The theory of the geologists whose opinions are quoted in page 112 is, that a large river formerly held its course through the country in this direction. The Spur, as has been said, occupies the site of an ancient glacier lake in the old bed of this river, and the existing gullies have been eroded transversely across it. It is a fact that no gold has been discovered in Gabriel's Gully above the Blue Spur, although the gully extends much further beyond.

The Blue Spur was at first taken up under the Goldfields Regulations, which only allowed 35 feet for each miner, when the depth of sinking exceeded 50 feet. This area was soon found to be too small, even for parties of four miners, and advantage was taken of the Regulations which permitted of the amalgamation of two or more claims. Through the courtesy of Mr. Henry John Abel, Clerk of the Warden's Court at Lawrence, I am enabled to give some interesting particulars of the first claims amalgamated. The application of Richard Nesbitt, Daniel Shannon, and four others for permission to amalgamate was lodged in the Warden's Court on March 12th, 1863; and that of Samuel Hales, Thomas Hinds, and four others on the following April 8th. On June 26th, in the same year, Donald McKenzie and five others lodged an application for an "extended claim in abandoned ground above Blue Spur for sluicing purposes." The grant of this application authorised the applicants to occupy treble the ordinary area. The next to make a similar application was James Keppel, in February, 1864. The first goldmining lease applied for on the Blue Spur, and, I think, in Otago, was that of John Hughes, S. Samuel, T.

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Taylor and others, for ground occupied by what was afterwards, and still is, known as the "Nelson Company." This lease dates from 6th November, 1865; but Mr. Abel informs me that the leases of Hales and Company, and Fenton and Company are of the same date. The Provincial Government were in those days very chary of granting leases at all; and I well remember the difficulty I had in persuading them to consent to the grant of the leases referred to.


SNOW POLES. (p.104.)

I remember receiving the piece of wire mentioned by Mr. Robinson. It was galvanised iron wire as stated, and it yielded easily to the action of frost, and snapped like a carrot. The wires to Campbell's were renewed in the following spring. "Shelter-sheds" were also built to afford accommodation to travellers who might be caught in the frequent and sudden snow-storms, and supplies of fuel were periodically placed in these sheds. An account of the storm of 1863, 1 written by me, and published in Chambers' Journal some years afterwards under the title "Lost at the Goldfields," is absolutely true in all essential particulars. The posts connecting the wires were at first painted black, but it was found by experiment that black became invisible at precisely the same vanishing point as red appeared black to the vision. Consequently, as red poles were distinguishable at the greatest distance, that colour was afterwards adopted. Several other lines were constructed-- one which was of great service to travellers, extended from Arthurs Point to Skippers on the Shotover River.

The cost of these poles in the neighbourhood of the Dunstan was very great. For some time nobody seemed to know how to supply any sufficient quantity of timber to that district, or to care for doing so, and the opportunity for making considerable sums of money was lost for want of enterprise. As an illustration of the extravagant charges made I will venture to introduce the following humorous relation of a circumstance which actually occurred, and the "voucher" referred to by the writer passed through my hands:--

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"In 1862 I was an officer on the Goldfields Staff stationed at Clyde, then known as the Dunstan. We had as our chief an exceedingly peppery man, greatly impressed with the dignity of his office. He was the Warden; what I was, never mind.

"Now, the dominant idea in the mind of our peppery Warden at that time was the desirability of a tall flagstaff on which to hoist a large Union Jack that had been supplied by the Government, and which had hitherto done duty as a counterpane or dust-protector to the Warden's blankets. So he gave the order to two notable characters, and the flagstaff was to be floated down the river from Lake Wanaka, a distance of about 45 miles. In due time, excepting all periods of flood, the flagstaff arrived--a thin, lanky, birch-pole about 30 feet in length. The two notables fixed it in the front of the Warden's 'marquee;' the flag was hoisted, and in the cool of that evening the high and mighty Warden might have been seen smoking his pipe under his own flagstaff --one eye on his pipe, and the other ogling the flag floating in the evening breeze.

"In the cool of the evening, also, the two notables presented their little bill; for, sad to relate, no bargain had been made as to price before the flagstaff was ordered. They bowed, smiled blandly, and left the document with the Warden--the document which would be attached to a voucher and forwarded to the head of his department, an officer who could, on a pinch, be quite as peppery as the Warden himself.

"Then that Warden was, for a time, a sight to see. He held the paper in both hands at arms' length, glared at it for a while, said 'How doth the little busy bee,' or some other hymn learned in his early childhood, and bolted into the tent; --for the little bill for that slender birch-pole from which the glorious old Jack was flying totted up to £36 15s. 6d.

"I should like to have seen the beaming face of our chief when he opened the voucher--but I should have liked to have seen it through the window."



The Goldfields Regulations were revised and remodelled by me in 1864, and some trivial alterations were subsequently added. After the office of Goldfields Secretary was abolished in 1867, I suggested to Mr. Macandrew, then Superintendent of the Province of Otago, that as many changes had taken place, and some new forms of mining had been introduced, it would be advisable to convene a Mining Conference, consisting of elected delegates from the Goldfields, and some members nominated by the Provincial Government, to revise the code. Mr. Macandrew assented to the proposal, and the following notice was pub-

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lished in the Otago Provincial Gazette of February 14th, 1868. As a record of the First Mining Parliament it seems to me to be worthy of reproduction:--


THE GOVERNMENT OF OTAGO, recognising the necessity for a revision in the Goldfields Regulations, and being desirous to give Miners an opportunity of assisting to frame New Regulations, suitable to the advanced condition of Goldmining in this Province, have resolved to appoint a Commission for that purpose; and holders of Miner's Rights and Business Licenses are invited to select delegates from amongst themselves to take part in a Conference to be held in Dunedin early in the month of March.

The Otago Goldfield has therefore been divided into seven Districts, from each of which one Delegate may be elected in accordance with the following Regulations:--

1. Every Delegate must be the holder of a current Miner's Right or Business License, issued on or before the 1st January, 1868.

2. Nominations of proposed Delegates may be made by holders of Miner's Rights only, on or before Monday, 17th February, in writing, addressed to "The Warden," and in the following form, which is to be signed by the proposer and seconder:--


(Place and Date.)

To the Warden at

We hereby nominate (insert name in full) as a Mining Delegate, to represent the District of           

Proposer.           No. of Miner's Right.           Date of Do.           Where issued.          

Seconder.           No. of Miner's Right.           Date of Do.           Where issued.          

3. If two or more Delegates are nominated for any District, a poll will be taken on Monday, 24th February, at the places hereinafter named; and the person for whom the largest number of votes may be polled, will be declared elected.

4. Every voter must produce his current Miner's Right or Business License, dated on or before 1st January, 1868, and the officiating Warden or Clerk shall stamp or write across every Miner's Right and Business License so produced, the word "Voted" and the date.

5. Holders of Miner's Rights who may be working at a greater distance than two miles from the nearest Polling-place, may record their votes in writing in the following form; but in such case it will be requisite for the Miner's Right of the voter to be produced by the person entrusted with the voting-paper.

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To the Warden at            (Place and Date)

I desire to record my vote for (insert name in full)

(Signature in full of Voter)

6. Voters may record their votes in any District, but for one Candidate only.

N.B. --The Government are anxious that wherever practicable, that branch of Mining which is predominant in each District should be represented.






Queenstown, Skippers, Arrow, Cardrona, Mace Town



Clyde, Cromwell, Nevis



Roxburgh, Moa Flat, Alexandra



Lawrence, Waitahuna, Waipori



Naseby, Hamilton, Hyde, M'Crae's


Black's No. 1

Black's No. 1, Drybread, Dunstan Creek



Switzer's, Nokomai

At 4 p.m. on the day of nomination, the Warden or Clerk officiating will publicly notify the name of the person or persons who may have been nominated.

The poll will be taken at the Court-house in each place; or if there be no Court-house, then in such other building as the Warden of the district may direct.

Secretary for Public Works.
Dunedin, January 31, 1868.

I may observe here that by Regulation 5 a safe and effective mode of Proxy voting was brought into operation for the first, and probably the last, time at a popular election.

The action of the Provincial Government was warmly responded to by the miners, and fully as much interest was shown in the elections as in any election for the Provincial Council or General Assembly. The result is disclosed by an "Order in Council" which appears in the Provincial Gazette of March 4th following:--

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Superintendent of the Province of Otago.


At the Provincial Government Buildings, Dunedin, the Fourth day of March, One thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight.


His Honor the Superintendent;
The Provincial Secretary and Treasurer;
The Secretary of Land and Works.

IT BEING deemed expedient that a Commission should be appointed to revise the Goldfields Regulations, and to draw up new regulations suitable to the advanced condition of goldmining in the Province of Otago, it is ordered that


shall be and they are hereby nominated and appointed to be Commissioners for the aforesaid purpose

Clerk to the Executive Council.

Colin Campbell McIntyre, whose name appears in the above Commission, is identical with the member for the Ovens Goldfields in Victoria, who was elected with seven others, of whom the writer was one, to represent the miners in the old Legislative Council of that Colony in 1855, anterior to the Proclamation of the New Constitution. On the occasion of that election his enthusiastic supporters caused the horse on which he rode to be shod with golden horseshoes, which were afterwards presented to the rider. At the time of the Otago Conference, and for some time afterwards, he was working at the Nevis. I do not know where he went after he left that locality.

The three first-named members of the Commission were nominated by the Provincial Government; the others were elected as delegates

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from the districts against which their names appear. The choice of a Chairman of the Conference fell upon myself. The first meeting was held on 14th March; and the final Report was presented to the Superintendent on 4th April, the outcome of the labours of the Conference being a new and amended code of Regulations which were published in the Provincial Gazette of April 22nd, 1868.

Another Mining Conference was held some years later, but the same amount of interest was not taken in it, and the results were not very appreciable. Perhaps I may be allowed to venture an opinion that similar conferences periodically held at not too frequent intervals in each district Goldfield--as Otago, Westland and Nelson combined, and Auckland, would be productive of advantage to the miners, and the cause of sparing much perplexity to the Mines Department.


NUGGETS. p. 117.)

Nuggets do not make much show in the goldmining record of Otago, nor, indeed, in that of New Zealand. None of the enormous masses of gold, such as have been unearthed in Australia and more especially in Victoria, have been discovered here. But by way of compensation the ore is more universally distributed through the soil. As a general rule, the gold found in Otago is remarkably fine and scaly, somewhat resembling flakes of bran. I remember that on my first visit to Wetherstones, early in 1862, a Victorian miner showed me a large sample of gold all of this description, and, when I remarked upon the novelty of its appearance, he asseverated, with grim humour, that "when they was a-making of the gold in Victoria the dust blowed over to New Zealand."

The largest "nugget" of which I can find any mention, is one of 27 ounces weight, reputed to have been found at Waipori, in 1863, by Davies, one of the prospectors of that district, and the same person as is mentioned in Appendix D, page 131. In the Otago Daily Times of November 6th, 1862, there is an account of a nugget weighing 12 1/2 ounces, found by George Skeen in Nuggety Gully--described as being "three miles east of Waitahuna." In 1863 I purchased for the Provincial Government a lump of solid gold, weighing nearly 15 ounces,

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found at Bungtown, on the short track from Lawrence to Waipori. Another, weighing 13 1/2 ounces, found in the Arrow River in 1864, was also bought for the Provincial Government. Both these nuggets were solid and unmixed with quartz, and were very much rounded by the action of water. Other nuggets of from 8 to 12 ounces have been from time to time reported. A specimen, which may almost be called a nugget, was secured for, I think, £60 by the Provincial Government. It was composed of gold and quartz, the metal predominating. The gold was beautifully bright, and the quartz was milky white. It came from the Eight-mile Creek--a branch of the Arrow--and, consequently, not far from Macetown and the reefs now being worked there. Unfortunately, it had been broken into three pieces before it came into the possession of the Government. I have not been able to discover the ultimate destination of these pieces of gold.



When I assumed office in 1862, I found a strange phase of things existing in connection with the question of settlement on the Goldfields. The Provincial Government had, in March, resumed possession, or, to speak more exactly, had "extinguished the title" of Run 53, comprising 24,000 acres; the licensees, Messrs. Smith and Martin, having, as the record runs, "readily accepted the liberal offer of 1s. an acre over the entire run." And in April following, the Government "accepted a proposal of Mr. John Cargill's," by which the title to his run was extinguished for 1s. 6d. an acre; the total sum paid being. £3,000, and the area, consequently, 40,000 acres. These runs were exceedingly well grassed, and extended from the Woolshed to the Tuapeka River. The Waipori country was subsequently acquired at 2s. 6d. an acre, and added to the general area. Without reckoning the latter, there were upwards of 60,000 acres of good land avowedly taken up for the benefit of the miners, over which, as by law provided, "horses and cattle required for the subsistence and convenience of the persons holding the Miner's Right and Licences and Leases" might be depastured; but not an acre could be taken up for cultivation or settlement. The Provincial Government

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were desirous of having a "Hundred" proclaimed at Tuapeka, but the General Government declined to give effect to the proposal. Mr. Sewell, then Attorney-General, pointed out that the Goldfields Act of 1860 "after making specific provision for the leasing of any land included within a Goldfield, enacted that districts proclaimed to be Goldfields should not be subject to the provisions of the Waste Lands Act, 1858, or the Land Regulations thereby validated"; and that the Proclamation of a Hundred would be to again place the land under the operation of the Land Regulations, and enable the Provincial Government to offer it for sale. Whilst this contest was proceeding, a run situated at the junction of the Pomahaka with the Molyneux River had been surveyed into 10-acre sections, and offered for sale on the chessboard principle; that is, in alternate allotments, so arranged that no one could get more than one section. But the miners at Gabriel's were not prepared to make homes for themselves at such a distance from the scene of their labours, and an occasional resort to which would have involved the necessity of climbing over Mount Stewart--often clothed in snow--and crossing the Molyneux River. In this emergency, deeming a beginning necessary, and regarding half a loaf as better than no bread, I induced the Provincial Government to give effect to Section 3 of "The Goldfields Act, 1858-1860," which ran thus:--

"It shall be lawful for the Governor by deed from time to time to demise for agricultural or business purposes, to any person for any term not exceeding seven years from the making of the lease, any land within a Goldfield, not exceeding ten acres in the whole, subject to such rent, &c, as the Governor shall deem meet."

These were the best terms obtainable at that time--a seven years' lease of 10 acres, without the right of purchase. In September, 1862, my suggestions were given effect to, and the first code of Agricultural Lease Regulations, which I had already drafted, were authoritatively issued in the Gazette. Then a difficulty arose about surveys: the ordinary Survey Staff could not attend to the applications lodged in the Warden's offices: but I succeeded in obtaining permission for the officers of the Mining Survey Staff to make the surveys, and applicants were allowed to peg out the ground as for ordinary claims, subject to conditions for the rectification of boundaries when the surveys were made.

From such small beginnings did agricultural settlement on the Goldfields proceed. The Tuapeka and Waitahuna Goldfields, and sub-

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sequently the Dunstan and Wakatipu Goldfields, were originally settled on this plan. I remember being severely rebuked for recommending that the area of these leases should be enlarged to 20 acres--a suggestion which drew upon me the charge of being "a friend of the monopolists and land-grabbers!"

In process of time, however, the necessity of enlarging the area and extending to the lessees the right of purchase became apparent. But it was not until October, 1865, that the Legislature were persuaded to allow agricultural leases of 50 acres to be granted, and the right of purchase was only conceded in 1866 by a clause introduced by me into "The Goldfields Act," which Act I prepared and drafted at the request of the General Government.



This subject has been partly dealt with in Appendix F; but it has seemed desirable to somewhat extend the information therein given. One of the most notable expeditions undertaken to the West Coast from Otago is that of P. Q. Caples, a miner who, in January, 1863, started from Queenstown, determined to surmount the difficulties that presented themselves. The following condensed account of this journey is extracted from my Official Report for 1863:--

"Starting alone, without gun or map, Caples crossed the mountains at the head of the Dart River, cutting steps in the glaciers with a shovel, and descended the western watershed to a river, which he named the Hollyford. Driven back by the want of provisions, which compelled him to feed on 'Maori rabbits' (Anglice, rats), Caples made a second attempt, and again succeeded in crossing the range near the head of the Greenstone River. Thence he followed the Hollyford down to its embouchure at Martin's Bay, which he reached on March 10th. During this journey Caples carefully prospected the creeks and river beaches for gold. On one of the larger tributaries of the Hollyford (named by him 'Pyke's Creek') he found 'two coarse specks of gold in a soft quartz vein, on hard slate bottom, exposed between two boulders. He prosecuted the examination of this locality for two days, but failed to procure another particle; and he records that throughout the remainder of his expedition he could only find the colour."

Notwithstanding his failure to discover a golden country, Mr. Caples rendered valuable geographical services to the Colony. He first

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discovered and named the Hollyford River and Valley with its chain of lakes, and mapped the whole country with pen and ink in a marvellously accurate manner. Dr. Hector was about that time on his way to the West Coast in the Matilda Hayes schooner; and whilst lying in Jacobs' River he read Caples' account of his journey in the Otago Daily Times. Subsequently Dr. Hector went round to Martin's Bay, and his report verified the discoveries of Caples in every particular.

Shortly after Caples' expedition Mr. Alabaster entered the Hollyford from the sea, in a small schooner named The Aquila, in which he succeeded in reaching the head of Lake M'Kerrow, and pursuing his researches up the Pyke River, he discovered another lake, to which his own name was given. --(Official Report, 1863.) There is still another lake further up this stream, which, rising in the coast ranges, almost describes an ellipse before it joins the Hollyford and finally enters the sea.

In 1864 Dr. Haast discovered the Pass which bears his name at the head of Lake Wanaka. In 1865 I was, at my own request, sent to investigate this route, with the view of ascertaining whether a practicable road could be built to connect Otago with the West Coast. The following terse account of my journey on that occasion is extracted from "The Handbook of New Zealand Mines," which is now passing through the Press under the auspices of the Government:--

"On the 28th August, 1865, Mr. Vincent Pyke, Goldfields Secretary, accompanied by Mr. Coates, Mining Surveyor, and three men, with two mules and two horses, started from the Dunstan with the view of finding a practicable line of road to the West Coast via Lake Wanaka. Two days afterwards they arrived at Newcastle, where they met Hatini Whiti (generally known on the Otago Goldfields as Maori Jack), who was engaged to go with the expedition. It rained incessantly for several days, and on one occasion the Haast River had to be forded 14 times during a day's travelling; whilst on another occasion the progress of the party was barred by an almost unbroken series of rocky gorges, through which the river foamed in a succession of cascades and rapids over and amidst huge piles of rock, which encumbered its channel for a distance of 10 to 12 miles. After leaving their camp, the party were unable to find a piece of level ground of sufficient extent to pitch their tents. They had to take shelter for the night under the projecting ledges of a huge mass of rock which had travelled from its original bed to within three feet of the edge of the river. Mr. Pyke caught a chill through lying in a pool of water which had collected during the night, the consequence being that for three days he suffered from an acute

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attack of gout, under which he could only travel with difficulty and in great pain, more especially as he had to carry a heavy swag over the roughest possible ground. Fording the Haast to the right bank above the junction of the Burke, the party came to an old camp, and found carved on a tree, 'Nugget Prospecting Party, Sep. 3, 1863.' Below the junction of the two rivers the Haast widened to a width of 50 yards, and the valley opened out, affording a magnificent view of the Grey and Moorhouse Ranges. The river ran for nearly eight miles between wide flats, some of which were partially grassed, but for the greater part were covered with dense scrub and underwood. From the junction of the Clarke with the Haast River the valley of the latter widened to a mile, and sometimes to one and a-half and two miles. The party reached the sea coast on the 2nd October, 35 days after starting from the Dunstan, and remained three days, so as to enable the men to mend their clothing and prepare for the return journey. Their stock of provisions was reduced to 20 pannikins of flour and meal, and a little tea and sugar. They kept an anxious look-out for passing vessels, but none appeared in sight, and they were not aware until their return that miners were at the time located at Jackson's Bay and Bruce Bay. The return journey was commenced on the 5th October, and two days afterwards the first entirely fine day occurred since the 27th September; but the Haast was much higher than on the downward journey. On the arrival of the party opposite the depot below the junction of the Clarke, Mr. Pyke sent two of the party across the river to fetch the stores that had been left there. Unfortunately, one of them when returning attempted to ford the Haast where the water was deep and the current strong; he lost his footing and was obliged to drop his load, swimming ashore with difficulty. The oatmeal, tea, sugar, and flour were lost; but, luckily, 6 lb. of the latter was recovered on a sand-bar, and that, with a little brose-meal, was all that was left. They hurried on till they reached the Burke, and took up the biscuits which were stored opposite the Wills River; then pressed forward to the Makaroro Valley, which they reached the following evening; but when they got to the Fish Stream they found it flooded by the incessant rain, and foaming and roaring through its rocky channel in a torrent which it was impossible to ford. Tree after tree was felled in the vain effort to throw one over the chasm; and nothing but the fact that their last biscuit was consumed could have induced them to persevere in the midst of the steady downpour, which so chilled them as to induce a drowsy lethargy of the most painful description. At length they managed to cross by constructing a rude ladder of saplings reaching from a rock in the river to the top of the opposite cliff. On the 14th October the party arrived at the head of Lake Wanaka, and reached Clyde on the 19th, ten days short of two months from the time of their departure. Auriferous indications were observed at various parts of the route, which Mr. Pyke considered a practicable one to the West Coast from Lake Wanaka, the distance being estimated at about 60 miles."

I may add to the above, that communication by this route is now

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easily accomplished; and I may also be permitted to express an opinion that it is the only practicable route for a railway connecting the East and West Coasts of the Middle Island. Considering that the Pass itself, in the heart of the New Zealand Alps, is only about 1,800 feet above sea level, and that this is the highest point on the entire route, no argument is required in support of this opinion.

NOTE. --At the twelfth hour an old friend---Mr. James Crombie. of Bannockburn--writes, referring to Highlay Hill, mentioned in page 114:-- "Myself and other three mates were sluicing in the gully where Bailey found us, and we took good care not to let him see any of our gold; but he went and reported finding a reef carrying gold, and men working in the gully making £1 per day...... Sergeant-major Bracken was the first Government officer we saw in the gully; and he picked up our pannikin with about 15 ounces of gold in it, and took away a piece about 5 dwt. with him."


1   This is the correct date of the occurrence.

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